Taking the Plunge

I believe I’m getting over my fear.  I have a fear of debt.  I hate knowing that I owe people money.  It’s hard for me to even have a credit card because I’d rather pay in cash and know it’s “paid in full.”  (Full disclosure is that I do have a credit card, and it’s the same card I’ve had since I was 18.)

I’ve been toying with the prospect of buying a house for the past year.  I’ve played out every scenario in my mind: do I want to live in town?  What part of town? Do I want to live in the country? How far away am I willing to live and still work in town?  If I live in the country, how “off-grid” do I want to be?  Could I do it all myself?

The answers are: No, I don’t want to live in town because the Zoo is quite frankly “a zoo”.  Too many people in this little college town.  I like many things about Missoula, but it’s a bit crazy for me on a daily basis.  Plus I’m not real interested in neighbors anymore – at least ones that live this close.  After having lived in the big city (Chicago with its multi-million people) prior to coming back to Montana, and now dealing with loud and chaotic (albeit, nice) neighbors in the basement apartment of my house…

I’m just ready to make the switch.

The switch and the plunge to rural living, and the start to my homesteading dream.  The switch to being more self-sufficient.

Plus, to say I’ve had some great inspiration lately is an understatement.  The wonderful man I met about 6 weeks ago lives a life that I crave.  While he doesn’t have the chicken coop or the greenhouse (yet!), he does live off the grid on 20 acres with no neighbors in a cabin he built with his own two hands. His property borders a river and is filled with lovely pine trees. He has a little orchard and a big garden.  Doesn’t own a refrigerator, and while he does have an official bathroom in his house, he uses his outhouse more frequently.  Something about not wanting to use “clean” water to do his business in.  I can fully appreciate that – I have no problem whatsoever with an outhouse.  It’s a theory I’ve been thinking and contemplating about for years already.

As I wrote about in a previous entry, I was raised on a little back-to-the-land homestead in northern Wisconsin.  I have nothing but fond memories of the land, the house, the garden, and the wonderful relationship my family cultivated there.  While I don’t have a husband or children (and I’m not looking for either of those at this point in life), I do want to mimic much of what we had, while building on the notion by adding my own personality to the mix.  That’s where the hen house, greenhouse and some other plans I have come in.

I’ve been looking online at some real estate listings.  I found a place I’d like to go take a look at: 40 acres up Mill Creek with two cabins on the land and a creek running through it.  The cabin itself doesn’t have running water at this time, but I can look into drilling a well, or somehow tapping the creek for water.  I mean – people live there now, so they have to take baths and drink water somehow, right?  The best part is the property is only $99.9k, which would leave me a mortgage of $89K, meaning my monthly payment would be about half of my current rent.  The cabin already has wood heat (a requirement of mine after my heat’s been out 20 times this winter).

So I know I can do this – and the first step is getting past my fear of debt.  I’m going to apply for an FHA loan (pre-approval), then go talk to a Realtor, take a look at this 40 acres, and go from there.  My current lease is up in mid-August – so one way or another I have to move.  I would prefer to move into a place I own myself instead of tossing cash to another slum-lord.

Thanks for joining me over here on DitchTheGrid as I maneuver my way through this process and begin my adventures in homestead living in western Montana?

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